[Paper] Indonesia Rice Irrigation System: Time for Innovation
Author: Rose Tirtalistyani, Murtiningrum Murtiningrum, and Rameshwar S. Kanwar
Abstract: Indonesia is likely to face a water crisis due to mismanagement of water resources, inefficient water systems, and weak institutions and regulatory organizations. In 2020, most of the fresh water in Indonesia was used for irrigation (74%) to support the agricultural sector, which occupies 30% of the total land area in Indonesia. Of all agricultural commodities, rice is one of the major and essential commodities, as it is the basic staple food for almost every Indonesian. However, in 2018, the Ministry of Public Works and Housing (MoPWH) reported that 46% of Indonesian irrigation infrastructure is moderately to heavily damaged. Looking at how irrigation can be very crucial to the welfare of Indonesian population, this study conducted an extensive literature review of the historical, current, and future management of irrigated rice production systems in Indonesia. This study has clearly shown that the irrigation systems in Indonesia have existed for thousands of years and, thus, there is a close relationship between irrigation and the socio-cultural life of the Indonesian population. Aside from how climate change influences water availability for irrigation, rice production with a constant water ponding system has been found to contribute to climate change, as it emits methane (CH4) and other greenhouse gases from agricultural fields of Indonesia. Therefore, the required modernization of irrigation systems in Indonesia needs to consider several factors, such as food demands for the increasing population and the impact of irrigated agriculture on global warming. Multi-stakeholders, such as the government, farmers, water user associations (WUA), and local research institutions, need to work together on the modernization of irrigation systems in Indonesia to meet the increasing food demands of the growing population and to minimize the impacts of agriculture on climate change.